Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District (Paperback)
  • Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District (Paperback)
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Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District (Paperback)

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£17.99
Paperback 208 Pages / Published: 04/07/2014
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In HistoricallyBlack, Mieka Brand Polanco examines the concept of community in the UnitedStates: how communities are experienced and understood, the complexrelationship between human beings and their social and physical landscapes-andhow the term "community" is sometimes conjured to feign a cohesiveness thatmay not actually exist. Drawing on ethnographic and historical materials fromUnion, Virginia, Historically Black offers a nuanced and sensitive portrait of a federally recognized HistoricDistrict under the category "Ethnic Heritage-Black." Since Union has been home to a racially mixedpopulation since at least the late 19th century, calling it "historicallyblack" poses some curious existential questions to the black residents whocurrently live there. Union's identity as a "historically black community"encourages a perception of the town as a monochromatic and monohistoriclandscape, effectively erasing both old-timer white residents and newcomerblack residents while allowing newer white residents to takeon a proud role as preservers of history. Gestures to "community" gloss an oversimplifiedperspective of race, history and space that conceals much of the richness (andcontention) of lived reality in Union, as well as in the larger United States.They allow Americans to avoid important conversations about the complex andunfolding nature by which groups of peopleand social/physical landscapes are conceptualized as a single unified whole. This multi-layered, multi-texturedethnography explores a key concept, inviting public conversation about thedynamic ways in which race, space, and history inform our experiences andunderstanding of community.

Publisher: New York University Press
ISBN: 9780814763483
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 299 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"This book provides a fine historically informed ethnography of Union, Virginia, and it also gives readers indispensable conceptual tools to better understand 'communities' in a non-essentialist way, both in terms of ongoing processes, and as products of specific histories that have unfolded in contexts always structured racially and spatially."-Jean Muteba Rahier,Director of African & African Diaspora Studies, Florida International University
"There are so few current works on small black-identified communities that Polanco's book is welcome reading for those of us who study such locales. The work is timely and should garner greater attention in anthropology." -American Anthropologist
"Polanco delivers a powerful ethnography of community life among residents living in rural African American historic district in Central Virginia. . . . The text touches on many social aspects of community, and readers will feel as though they are part of the conversation as they read residents' narrative histories."-Choice
"Mieka Polanco makes clearer the complexities of the past and the present through the articulation of various interest groups' stances. She adeptly draws from anthropology's intellectual geneaology to reposition simplistic notions of history-making and uncovers the cartographies of one community in ways that eloquently raise questions about race, space, histories and the business of making historically designated communities."-Dana Davis,Queens College, City University of New York

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